You will only give birth so many times in your life – each experience should happen as closely to your desires as possible. Are you a second-time mom, looking for a different experience than you had last time? Perhaps you have had a good hospital experience, but feel as if there could be something that fits you better. Or maybe you’re one of thousands of women who wonder if the cesarean section you had was absolutely warranted. Could things have gone differently? These are all questions worth asking yourself as you look to take more responsibility of your own health and the care that is provided to you.
Out-of-hospital birth has been the natural mode of delivery since the beginning of childbearing history – it has only been in the last century that hospital birthing has become the norm. Interventions have progressed to the point that pregnancy and childbirth have basically become treated as a disease in which drugs and surgical procedures are the new normal. Granted, there are times in which pregnancy needs intervention, and that is when we are extremely grateful to have options. However, medical intervention should play a very small percentage in deliveries instead of the ever growing rate of cesarean sections we see in this country.
I believe that being well-informed of your options and the care you receive will help you have the best possible birthing experience. Knowledge is the key to understanding: If you know and understand what is happening in your body, you can work with your body to allow it to do the task at hand.
Home Birth vs. Birthing Center
Where you give birth is all about where you feel the most comfortable. For some, a birthing center is a middle ground. Moms who don’t want to be at the hospital, but are not ready to be at home (or maybe don’t like the thought of giving birth in their own home) may find a birthing center most desirable. For others, the thought of never having to leave home is inviting, to be surrounded by their own things and in the comfort of their own bed. It’s easier to have family members present (especially young children.)
There is no safety difference (or shouldn’t be), because most midwives bring everything to a home to provide quality care. Distance from a hospital facility is a factor to take into consideration. In a birthing center, you have all the comforts of home, possibly bigger tubs, and more room. Apartment-dwellers won’t share a wall with neighbors, whereas they would at home. We say our birth center is like a Birth and Breakfast. We do all the cleaning and cooking, you just spend the night and go home with a baby. Also, we never have to worry about running out of hot water.
Birth is a time to feel safe, secure and supported. When a woman births in a birthing center or her own home, she is surrounded by people she loves and trusts. The lighting, sounds, colors and textures are either her own or those she has chosen. Peacefulness lowers anxiety and fear. The ability to move around freely allows her to give into the process. I often say that women labor like they live. A chatty, bubbly woman will most likely chat their way through labor. A more reserved woman will most likely
find that quiet inner strength to get her through. This is the beauty of it. This is the uniqueness of birth. Each is as individual as we are as humans. No two are the same.
As a midwife of 28 years, I have watched this process over and over. It never gets dull and always feels new and exciting. The tricks that worked two decades ago still work today. Yes, we never stop learning and may come up with new, helpful ways to assist, but the mechanics of birth remain the same. At Dayspring Midwifery, we provide the best care possible with the least amount of technical intervention. We also provide education through a process called Informed Collaborative Decision Making – we provide resources to educate you along the way about each test, procedure, and milestone. By the time the birth day has arrived, it is our intention and hope that you welcome it as a life event to be celebrated.
Should anything arise that would prevent you from having your “ideal” birth, our hope is that we can go through it, together, without fear, but an understanding that now “this” is the best way for your baby to make its appearance. Most of the time, though, it is just a sweet time of welcoming your new one into the world. You, as a woman, will feel empowered. You have just given birth naturally, the greatest thing we, as women, can ever do.
Midwives, like ice cream, come in many flavors. The following questions may help you select a midwife who is perfectly suited to your likes and needs. Personality also plays a large part in your decision making! You would never want to choose someone who totally rubs you the wrong way. You must feel comfortable in her presence. Here are some questions you should ask.
• How did she become a midwife? What training has she had? Is she certified and licensed with the state?
• Does she belong to any midwifery organizations, attend conferences or participate in peer reviews?
• What is her standing with the other local midwives?
• What is her basic philosophy of childbirth?
• How many births has she attended as the primary midwife?
• What do her services include, and what are her fees? Does she bill insurance or take Medicaid?
• What prenatal testing does she offer?
• Does she work with another midwife or assistant at births? What does she do if there are two births at the same time?
• Does she handle higher risk situations, such as twins or breech babies?
• How does she handle other problems or complications that might develop during labor? What standard and emergency equipment does she carry? What herbs or medicine does she use, and why?
• Be aware of the laws in your area. Does she abide by these?
• Does she have any affiliation with a physician who can answer unusual questions during the pregnancy or an emergency situation during labor?
• What is her policy for transferring care to a hospital? What medical facility would she use? Has she developed a good working rapport with the staff at that facility?